Should we prioritise dental aesthetics or function?

Do we prioritise dental aesthetics or function?Despite a shifting focus towards dental aesthetics, it's important to still consider function and prevention in our treatment plans, Drew Langan says.

In recent years social media has played a crucial role on the increasing demands of aesthetic treatment. It projects the ideals of beauty and impacts the way society values it (Morley and Eubank, 2001). Dental aesthetics is an essential component in relation to facial beauty. The appearance of the dentition is imperative on an individual’s overall evaluation of others (Newton et al, 2003). Studies show poor dental aesthetics are associated with lowered self-confidence and can impact on a person’s quality of life (Kolawole et al, 2012).

As dental professionals, it is essential to understand patient’s desires to improve the appearance of their dentition. It is vital to acquire the relevant knowledge in the concepts of smile design when looking at treatment options for individual patients. Principles based on scientific and artistic components makes up the smile design. An aesthetically harmonising smile brings these principles together (Bhuvaneswaran, 2010). The overall aim of smile design is to provide an aesthetic but functional status, as well as having both dental and facial components harmonised. To achieve a successful result it is essential to possess a sufficient understanding of the relationship between the oral and facial structures (Bhuvaneswaran, 2010).

Dental aesthetics

As dental and technological advances continue to grow, so do the expectations of patients receiving dental treatment (Douglass and Sheets, 2000); it is therefore essential to manage patient expectations.

The way a smile is conveyed determines the confidence of an individual. A smile acts as ‘social currency’, whereby facial features reveal wealth. Popularity seeking procedures such as tooth whitening, composite bonding and porcelain veneers...

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